Interested in Language
Can anybody tell me the meaning of the phrase all wound up?
"Thanks for the flowers. That was very thoughtful. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
I stepped out into the hot afternoon sunlight, and the door closed behind me. The guy across the street turned
and looked at me again. I felt insanely frustrated.
Crossing the street, I approached him.
"Hi," I said. He wore a muscle T-shirt with the words ALL WOUND UP on it. His goatee was uneven; he had shaved
too close on the right side, and it had left a big gouge where the hair used to be. The unevenness was
"I was just wondering," I said, "How well do you know Mrs. Courington across the street?"
"Well enough," he said, wiping his greasy hands on his jeans.
"Do you know what happened to her daughter?"
The Girl in the Funeral Parlor, Sam Weller, 2012
The impression it gives me is that he is tense like a "wound up" clockwork spring. You might sometimes hear the phrase "all wound up and ready to go", like a clockwork toy.
In this instance because he is a shaven headed muscleman, it gives the impression that he may be all wound up and ready for a fight.
(BrE first language speaker.)